Cubed Circle Newsletter 161: Road to Survivor Series Continues, Best SmackDown Match in Years, Outstanding NXT, WON Awards 2014 + More!

Cubed Circle Newsletter 161: Road to Survivor Series Continues – Prepare Your Psychedelics


This week Ben Carass and Bryan Rose return with more on the Road to Survivor Series 2014. Ben, whilst stating that last week’s Main Event report was but an aberration, returns once more with his thoughts on this week’s edition of Main Event, including Sami Zayn/Tyson Kidd for a second week. Plus, what “may very well have been the best episode of NXT ever”, “the best match on SmackDown in years “, and Bryan Rose continues his look at the 2014 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards.


Ryan Clingman, Cubed Circle Newsletter Editor




Raw Ramblings – November 10th2014

Echo Arena: Liverpool, England.

Ben Carass.


Overseas Raws are generally not the most exciting of shows. For whatever reason, most likely wanting to make as much money as possible, they run house shows on the same day as TV and throw a show together with a depleted crew. They didn’t fly anybody from the house show to TV like they did with the Shield in 2013, however they did show some pre-tapes from Dean Ambroseand Bray Wyattso their absence was at least somewhat concealed. From the live reports in the building, it appears like the Fun Police were cracking down on derogatory signs and confiscating beach balls, plus the crowd noise was heavily edited and only one, “Where’s our Network” chant made the air.


The story of the show was all about Ryback and which team he would be on at Survivor Series. Cenaopened the show with a promo; Ryback showed up but the Authorityinterrupted him before he could talk. Triple Hburied Cena’s team of geeks, which at this point consisted of Dolph Zigglerand Jack Swagger, although the latter was only involved so he could be taken out by Rollins. Stephaniewent all Vinnie Mac and put over Ryback for being a big jacked up freak then tried to convince him to join Team Authority. Ryback said he didn’t see Cena’s name on his pay checks and gave Cena a spinebuster. I didn’t buy the faux heel turn for one second and knew that by the end of the night Ryback would be a part of Team Cena. So, Rollinsbeat Jack Swaggerin 11:20 with the curb stomp. The doctor got in the ring to check on Swagger, but Noble and Mercuryheld him back and Rollins hit another curb stomp. Apparently Seth had lead in his boots tonight, because that was enough to write Swagger out of the storyline. In the locker room, a crestfallen Cenatold Zigglerhe could join Team Authority if he wanted and Dolph of course refused. HHHtold Cena he was banned from ringside during Ziggler’s match with Mark Henrythen comically sang “Another one bites the dust”. Henry hit Zigglerwith a chair for the DQ at 2:50 of an ugly match. Henry continued to attack Dolph after the match and Big Showran down to make the save then declared he would be on Team Cena. Sheamusalso declared his allegiance to Team Cena in the most undramatic manner possible; he just walked up to Cena and his teammates in the back and said, “I’ll be on the team.” Meanwhile, the Authoritywere questioning whether they could trust Ryback,and Mark Henry reminded Ryback that he beat him at WrestleMaina, which again telegraphed what was to come later on. The main event was John Cenavs. Ryback. It went 15:10 and ended in a DQ when Kaneattacked Cena. A DQ in the main event of Raw, imagine that. Rybackshoved Kanefor costing him the match and Kane dropped him with a big boot; the Authorityput the boots to Cena, causing Sheamusand Big Showto run down separately like big Kanye West egomaniacs. The heels outnumbered Team Cena until Rybackfought back and hit Kane with the shellshock. HHHand Steph were watching on a monitor in the office, when a beaten down Dolph Zigglerwas thrown at their feet. Luke Harperwalked into shot and told them, “I’m a team player”. HHH and Steph stood slack-jawed to close the show.


Stephaniealso recruitedRusevfor Team Authority, although they teased tension between her and Lanafor no other reason than Steph presumably wanting to appear more of a tyrant than Putin. Steph also had a line about there being “NO POLITICS IN WWE” – I had a hearty laugh at that one. Rusev and Lanahad a US title victory celebration; it was the same deal as their Russian star medal ceremony, however the guys they got to play the Russians were Scottish indie workers, Joe Hendry and Lionheart: the former of whom got to speak in the second worst phony Russian accent on the show. Sheamusinterrupted the Russian national anthem and the US title rematch was on. It went 15:25 and wasn’t as good as the match last week, although there was one cool spot that saw Rusev give Sheamus a fall-away slam on the announce table. Nobleand Mercury tried to attack Sheamus and he fought them off only to be counted out. Backstage, Stephdemanded an answer from the Russians and Lanasaid they would join Team Authority. Steph told her she didn’t give a damn what Putin thought then declared they would “crush” Team Cena in a Russian accent that was somehow worse than the Scottish Joe Hendry’s.


Meanwhile:Paigepinned Alicia Foxin 2:15 and was super over with the UK crowd. Apparently the women are immune from being buried in their hometown, unless their name is Natalya. Mizand Damien Sandowdefeated Los Matadoresto presumably get themselves into a multi-team tag title match at Survivor Series, although the announcers never bothered to mention anything of the sort. Hornswoggle was dressed as a mini-Miz, which was funny for a one time deal but knowing WWE they will probably run it into the ground. JBLsaid Hornswoggle looked like a “mini-Masa Chono.” AJ Lee tapped-out Brie Bellain 2:20. Nikkiwas at ringside and laid out AJ afterwards with the rack attack. What the hell was the point of this personal assistant stip? They have done virtually nothing and got no sympathy whatsoever on Brie, who is going to end up worse off than she was before this whole mess. Tyson Kiddsubmitted Adam Rosewith the sharpshooter in 2:40. Finish was the same as on SmackDown, with the Bunnydistracting Rose. During the match, Erick Rowancame out looking for someone and the announcers told him “she’s not here”. My guess would be Renee Young, but I suppose it could have been Nattie. Post-match, Rose kicked the Bunny in the gut and partied out with his goofballs. They aired the Xavier Woods, “A new day” vignette again, however they also did the same deal for Kofi Kingston. He was more of a preacher than a James Brown knock-off. Maybe Big E will have a gold grill and a clock around his neck next week and the stable they teased months ago will finally be revealed.


With every week that goes by it becomes more of a challenge to endure three hours of Raw. Sure, they throw us a bone every now and then, like last week’s fantastic main event angle, but the Autumn/Winter period is certainly a depressing time to be a viewer of the WWE product. Notice I didn’t say WWE “fan”, because no doubt the WWE truthers can’t get enough of DQ finishes on every single show, or the first day of college scripting from writers that wouldn’t know realism if they were punched in the face by Mark Hunt. And what about the complete burial of the entire mid-card, I bet “fans” love that stuff. None of this is new, but the fact that WWE is all but telling us that nothing is going to matter until January makes all their deficiencies seem somehow more infuriating. It also doesn’t help that Triple H and Stephanie are on a mission to bury anyone and anything in their path, which again is nothing we haven’t seen for years, but come on people, can we please start to have some originality – or at least something NEW on this show. I’m afraid reanimating Ryback from 2012 doesn’t count. Oh, I forgot, they have booked an internet Meme, Grumpy Cat, on the go-home show for Survivor Series. I was about ready to resign from my post here at this fine establishment upon hearing such asinine tomfoolery, however luckily I have been fighting a virus for over a week and three or four extra doses of these prescription strength painkillers should, in theory, make whatever they have that cat do look like a Ric Flair promo from 1987.


*CubedCircleWrestling, its editor and staff (except Ben Carass), do not endorse crappy booking doping of any kind and will not be held responsible for, but not limited to, any narcotics, sedatives, anaesthesia, opiates, tranquilisers, hallucinogens, psychoactives, uppers, downers and all arounders (except the occasional beer, spirit, joint, blunt, bong – but not bowls, those things are useless) imbibed during the viewing of any professional wrestling television show. Any intoxication on the reader’s behalf is purely coincidental and CubedCircleWrestling cannot guarantee that such actions will make said crappy booking any better.


Bryan Rose on the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame Part II


Part 1 of my Observer picks is down. Now time for six more! I might have said this last week, but these aren’t my final picks. After all, we still have a month to go! Plus things have changed in the last week that require me to make different picks. I don’t think this applies to the ones I’ve already made, but I’ll let you guys know when the time comes. Let’s get going!


Best on Interviews: Stephanie McMahon. Seriously. If you told me 10 years ago she was a viable candidate, I would have called you the silliest silly in all of Sillyville. But hey, the talent pool for great promos this year was not a big one. CM Punk left and doesn’t look to be returning, maybe ever. Bray Wyatt’s shtick has never evolved into anything more than rambling. He has good delivery, but what’s the point if the actual dialogue is nothing but dreck? Stephanie McMahon, mysteriously, has the greatest lines in all of WWE programming. She’s the smartest person on the roster and always has a witty comeback or something up her sleeve. She has tremendous delivery and is easily the top heel in the company, even beyond Triple H. Funny how that worked out.


Most Charismatic- Hiroshi Tanahashi. The most charismatic, at least for me, has to be someone who garners a reaction while doing the least amount to get over. Cena is one guy in the WWE who can be considered for this award. But when people do react to him, it’s the usual mixed reaction. Granted, Cena coming down always gets a reaction, but who knows which one it is. In New Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi gets a positive, huge reaction every time he comes down to the ring. He does do a lot of stuff to get a pop, but even as a match starts you know he’s the guy everyone is rooting for. And people ALWAYS stay for the post-match following a victory when he starts strumming the air guitar. Okada is reaching this level, and I think Nakamura is there as well, but for right now THE GUY that gets the biggest positive reaction in wrestling is Hiroshi Tanahashi.


Best Technical Wrestler- Dunno. I’m probably abstaining from this one. I don’t know anyone who’s a great technical mat wrestler. Some guys are able to do this well, but I haven’t seen anyone extensively that is worthy of the award. Some people will just vote Daniel Bryan for the hell of it, but that’s not his style in WWE so I’m not voting for him just because. This is becoming one of the more irrelevant awards, to be honest.


Best Brawler- There’s a lot of Stiffy Mcstiffersons in New Japan. But I think Tomohiro Ishii has this one down as well. All of this high profile matches this year have been incredibly stiff brawls that, quite frankly, have been nothing but mesmerizing. Even in the last week we’ve seen him retain the NEVER title against Hirooki Goto in one of the more amazing matches I’ve seen in quite some time. Shibata, Makabe and Goto can all be considered for this award as well, but I think Ishii has this one down pat.


Best High Flyer- Ricochet. The guy is so flippin’ amazing I don’t even know how to comprehend it. Not only does he do insane stuff, but he’s able to do it flawlessly. His match with KUSHIDA this year in the Best of the Super Junior finals was a great testament to that. I’ve never seen anyone do a running senton, leaping over the turnbuckle onto his opponent. That was just incredible. His match against Ibushi for the Jr. title was amazing as well. Ricochet has had one amazing year, and his run in Lucha Underground looks to continue that trend.


Most Overrated- Kane. I hate him. Not personally, I don’t know him or anything. But this character. One minute they want him to be a corporate shill. The other he’s a MONSTER and has MONSTER MOVIE VILLAIN MOMENTS, which are so out of place in wrestling. His in ring work, at best, is mediocre. He’s a pushed guy who has no real reason to be pushed other than he’s been a name for 17 years. Think how old that is in TV years. He interferes for no reason in a bunch of matches in the lamest manner possible. His character sucks and has no place in 2014 WWE, where there are a bunch of younger, and overall better, performers who could perhaps pull it off.


Most Underrated- Cesaro. He’s the latest victim of start/stop pushing. It seemed like he was finally going to go somewhere this year when he won the Andre the Giant battle royal and was put with Paul Heyman. But during the summer, that kind of stalled. Heyman was taken away from him, and soon was back at the IC/US title level. I think the problem was that he should have probably turned face after Wrestlemania, but they put him with Heyman instead, so the crowd didn’t know what to think of a guy they like, but have to boo. Now he’s even lower than where he started this year, doing jobs on Main Event and Superstars. I wish WWE would get it with this guy, but they’re complacent with not making stars. Oh well.


Part 3 will go down next week!


-Bryan Rose


WWE Main Event – November 11th2014.

Echo Arena: Liverpool, England.

Ben Carass.


We’re back with another look at Main Event, which last week I all but promised would be a one shot deal. Well this is the wrestling business, so you should be used to being told a pack of lies. Instead of vowing to not review the show again, let’s just say these Main Event reviews may pop up every now and then whenever WWE decides to throw guys from NXT on the show for no reason.


Adam Rose vs. Stardust (WWE Tag Team Champion) w/Goldust – Rose over in 3:58.They played up the tension between Rose and the Bunny. Match wasn’t much. Stardust hissed at the Rosebuds and Goldust distracted Rose from the outside. The Bunny took out Goldie, which then distracted Stardust and Rose won with a roll up. – Apparently the idea is to have Rose vs. the Bunny on the Survivor Series pre-show, however that is no excuse for this opening match comedy act to be pinning one of the tag team champions. THIS IS WHY THE BELTS DON’T MATTER.


Cole called Liverpool the “winningest” football city in England, which would have been true in 1989, but for the past 25 years the city of Manchester has ruled the English game – typical WWE tripe (For a further rant on this subject, please see the SmackDown review). And don’t get me started on all the extraneous Beatles references.


Alicia Fox vs. Cameron – Fox at 3:28. Awful match; fans didn’t care at all, probably because Fox was playing babyface and the night before she worked heel against Paige. Cameron still looked like a deer in headlights out there. Fox won with a roll-up. – Cameron was recently ranked #17 on PWI “Female 50”, that’s 11 places above Kimber Lee, 16 above Candice LeRae and 22 places above Naomi. Poor PWI, it’s not like they had any credibility anyway, but this absolutely confirmed that Stu Saks is on the WWE payroll.


Sami Zayn vs. Tyson Kidd w/Natalya – Kidd via pinfall at 13:45. Another good match from these two, although it is clear they have been told to slow it down as their matches in NXT are worked at a slightly faster tempo. There were a few more “ole” chants this week, but still the vast majority of people didn’t seem to know who Sami was, although they did start to get behind him as the match wore on. They had a similar layout to last week, with Kidd cutting Sami off early to get the heat. Sami didn’t make a full blown comeback, and got some hope spots instead then hit the blue thunder-bomb for a near-fall. They played off the finish from last week and did the same sequence of roll-ups, however this time the ref noticed that Kidd had the tights. Kidd ran to the floor and hid behind Nattie then landed a cheap shot on Sami and hit the MC3HFC to get the pin. – With that finish it looks like this series will continue, which is weird because at the minute Sami is going to become the geek from Main Event, which is only slightly better than being a geek from Superstars. I don’t get the logic behind it, all they are doing is watering down Sami’s potential to make an impact when he debuts for real on Raw. I assume he is winning the NXT title at Takeover III, so maybe the idea is for him to come back up after his title run, by which point nobody will remember him losing back-to-back matches on Main Event.


Dean Ambrose vs. Justin Gabriel – Ambrose at 5:13. Basic stuff. Gabriel got more offence in than you might have expected. Ambrose dumped Gabriel over the top with a clothesline and landed a tope then got a near-fall with a bulldog. Finish was the double-arm DDT. Ambrose cut a promo afterwards and said he would give Bray Wyatt some “family counselling” at the Survivor Series. – One of those “enhancement” matches that fails to enhance the guy they are supposed to be enhancing. This feud with Wyatt is going to lead to some horrendous scripting of Ambrose, hell it has already begun, hopefully Ambrose’s talent and natural charisma can pull him through all the tripe that is about to be thrown his way.


The Zayn/Kidd match made this show tolerable; take those two guys off the show and I have no idea why anyone would watch Main Event. It was a similar format to last week. Four matches, with Kidd and Zayn getting a lot of time, a bunch of Raw recaps, no extended in-ring promos, and featuring the Ambrose/Wyatt program to close out the show. Check it out if you like NXT and want to see the differences in working a longer match on the main roster as opposed to down in Florida.


WWE NXT – November 13th2014.

Full Sail University: Winter Park, FL.

Ben Carass


Finn Bálor was out to start the show. He introduced himself to the crowd and said he was the future. Tyson Kidd showed up with Natalya and told Bálor that, as a “Hart”, he came up the right way and learned respect, which he claimed Bálor didn’t have. Justin Gabriel was out next and he agreed with Kidd’s assessment of the new international superstar. Kidd and Gabriel hit the ring and cornered Bálor; Hideo Itami came down to even the odds and the heels backed off. A referee hit the ring and Jo-Jo announced that Regal had booked a tag match.


Finn Bálor & Hideo Itami vs. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel – Bálor & Itami over in 7:10. Bálor drilled Gabriel with a dropkick and went for a double stomp, but Kidd pulled Gabriel outside then Bálor took them both out with a plancha. Albert talked about Bálor coming up in the New Japan dojo and Itami having “toukon”. Gabriel dropkicked Bálor off the apron and Kidd hit a neckbreaker on the floor. Bálor sold for the heat then caught Kidd with the overhead kick and Itami ran wild off the hot tag with a bunch of kicks. Finish saw Itami and Bálor hit simultaneous running corner dropkicks then Bálor pinned Gabriel with a double stomp off the top. – Great opener. It only went 7 minutes, but could have easily gone another 7 and could have headlined any normal episode. Bálor is already a star to the NXT crowd and his presence appears to give Itami the confidence that he has been lacking.


Sasha Banks w/Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss – Sasha via submission at 2:15. It was at this point I noticed they had a new LED apron skirt which displayed the name of each wrestler as they came out. Sasha jumped Bliss at the bell and got the heat immediately. Bliss made a comeback, which consisted of exactly 3 spots, then Sasha got the win with her backstabber/ Just facelock combo. Sasha cut a promo afterwards and challenged Charlotte to a women’s title match.


Adrian Neville was with Devin in the back. He said Sami Zayn was a great competitor but the difference between them was that Sami could not win the big one.


Non-Title Match: The Lucha Dragons (NXT Tag Team Champions) vs. Wesley Blake & Buddy Murphy – Dragons at 4:48. Kalisto did some flips early, but Murphy caught him in an impressive deadlift suplex. Kalisto did the selling, which he is much better at than Sin Cara, although he is also better at making the comeback than Cara too; if only he could be his own tag team partner. Blake and Murphy looked good and deserved to be featured more. They had a cool double team spot: Blake had Kalisto in a modified surfboard and Murphy came off the ropes with a meteora. There was also an innovative spot before the hot tag, rather than just doing the lazy double-down. Murphy gave Kalisto a monkey-flip, however Kalisto caught Blake with a sunset-flip then landed a kick. Cara made the comeback. Finish saw Kalsito take out Murphy with a twisting ACH style plancha and Cara hit Blake with a senton off the top. – Fun match. Sin Cara is clearly the weak link of the team, but Kalisto is so great that he makes up for his partner’s shortcomings. Blake and Murphy were very impressive and more than likely opened some eyes with this performance.


NXT Championship: Adrian Neville (C) vs. Sami Zayn – Neville retained in 12:17. Sami got the better of the opening exchanges; Neville got angry and landed a flurry of kicks then scored with a running basement dropkick. Sami made a comeback and hit a big tope con giro over the top then went for a crossbody, but Neville countered with a dropkick and a standing shooting star to start the near-falls. Sami came close with a sit-out powerbomb then hit two rolling Germans before getting a near-fall with an overhead Dragon suplex. Neville countered the Yakuza-kick and the exploder then Sami avoided the Red Arrow. Neville sold his knee and the ref threw up the dreaded “X”; Sami knelt down to check on his foe, but Neville hooked him in an inside cradle and got the three. Neville patted Sami on the head and continued to sell his knee. Sami just sat in a state of disbelief while a trainer checked on Neville. Show closed with Sami looking disconsolate. – I don’t like when they use the “X” as a work, but the finish was done well and the match as a whole was wonderful. When Neville missed the Red Arrow, you could feel the atmosphere in the building change, like they were going to see a title switch. Everything about this was tremendous: the story of the match, the pacing, Sami’s facials, the finish. This blew away any of the Raw main events we’ve seen recently.


This may very well have been the best episode of NXTever. Matches like Regal/Ohno and Zayn/Cesaro are memorable and probably better than any one thing on this show, however I can’t recall off the top of my head a show that, from start to finish, was better than this. The opening tag was a great way showing for Bálor and Itami, the women’s match did its job in making Sasha look strong, Murphy and Blake held their own with the Lucha Dragons and had a fun little match – then there was that main event, which comes highly recommended from me. In fact, just watch the whole show.

WWE SmackDown – November 14th2014.

Echo Arena: Liverpool, England.

Ben Carass.


Chris Jericho was out for the Highlight Reel segment. Cole, JBL and Tom Phillips acted all excited then threw to the German announcers, who were flown in only to be put on SmackDown. Jericho did some comedy about wanting to know who Adam Rose’s Bunny was and speculated that it might be Funaki. He then talked about the possibility of the Authority being out of power after Survivor Series then introduced HHH and Steph as his guest; because she is a wonderful troll, Steph did Jericho’s signature pose at the top of the ramp and looked so pleased with herself. She asked what the WWE would be like without a McMahon in charge; Jericho said he agreed with Cena and stated that the fans should be in charge. Jericho said he could run the WWE and asked the fans a bunch of questions about whether they would like to see the Authority humiliated, which were all greeted by “Yes” chants. Jericho showed the clip of Vickie Guerrero’s farewell and Steph getting dumped in the pudding. HHH finally had enough and went on one of his tirades about not needing anyone’s acceptance. HHH claimed the Authority would have the last laugh at Survivor Series then threatened to blackball Jericho and erase him from history. Jericho led the crowd in a “Nah-Nah, Nah-Nah” chant to close the segment. – Well, that was a gigantic waste of time. Nothing anybody said meant a thing, Jericho isn’t even on Team Cena and the Authority didn’t even book him in a match for later in the show.


Bray Wyatt vs. Sin Cara – Wyatt over in 2:16. Somebody must have seen their match from Main Event last week and figured it out, because Wyatt virtually took the whole match. Cara got one flurry in, but Wyatt looked strong and won with Sister Abigail. Wyatt cut a promo afterwards about hearing Ambrose’s cries for help and Dean’s father being a bum. Ambrose showed up and Wyatt slid out to the floor; instead of going after his hated enemy, Ambrose just stood in the ring and listened to Bray ramble some more. Wyatt actually got in the ring himself and Ambrose landed exactly one punch then Bray went back to the floor to continue his promo about Ambrose’s daddy issues. – This was all kinds of stupid. The premise of the feud is bad enough, but Ambrose standing and listening to Wyatt made him look dumb then Wyatt getting in the ring to take one punch before continuing his promo was just silly.


Non-Title Match: Gold & Stardust (WWE Tag Team Champions) vs. Adam Rose & The Bunny –Dusts at 2:06. They rushed through the heat just so the Bunny could make the comeback. Rose wanted the tag, but the Bunny went for a top rope splash instead. Cody got his knees up and pinned the Bunny with an inverted STO. Rose abused the Bunny again and hit his wacky facebuster; Nikki Storm, who was one of the Rosebuds, did her best Yano face then Rose partied out with his toolbags.


Dolph Ziggler was in the back with Byron Saxton. He talked about all the things the Authority had put him through and vowed to go down with a fight tonight in his IC title match then vowed to remain on Team Cena no matter what. There was a promo package on Ryback then the Big Guy was with Byron. Saxton asked if he would be on Team Cena and Ryback said he was on “Team Ryback” then he cut a promo about how he would take care of Kane later on. – Ryback needs to be told how to deliver a promo like a babyface, because he is still coming across like that one idiot we all know, who tells you how much he can bench at every opportunity.

Survivor Series 2014 Preview II

IC Championship, Elimination Three-Way: Dolph Ziggler (C) vs. Cesaro vs. Tyson Kidd – Ziggler retained in 14:37 (TV Time). This was all action from the start. All three guys traded moves and a bunch of pinning combos early. Cesaro took both guys over with a double suplex then gave Dolph a powerbomb; Kidd flew in with a springboard elbow on Ziggler then Cesaro gave him a gutwrench. Dolph made a comeback and planted both guys with a neckbreaker/DDT combo. Cesaro smashed Kidd with a European on the top rope, which led to a tower of doom, with Kidd catching Cesaro with a sunset-bomb while Cesaro gave Dolph a superplex. Kidd got Cesaro in the sharpshooter but he broke free and planted Kidd with a well-timed tilt-o-whirl backbreaker. Kidd hit Cesaro with a blockbuster on to Dolph’s knees then hooked Ziggler in the sharpshooter. Cesaro gave Kidd the giant swing then got a near-fall with a German on Dolph. Cesaro was eliminated at 11:10 (TV Time), when Ziggler hit the Zig-zag and Kidd stole the pin. Kidd sent Dolph into the steps and got a near-fall with the MC3HFC. They did the Shawn Michaels/Shelton Benjamin finish, with Dolph superkicking Kidd in mid-air but that was only a near-fall. Finish saw Ziggler roll out of the sharpshooter and hit the Zig-zag. – Unbelievable stuff. You have to go back a long way to find a better match on SmackDown than this. I’m going to make a lot of people unhappy with this statement, but it is undoubtedly true: this was so much better than the BOLA final 3-way. It may have been a spotfest, but my goodness was it great. Maybe after Vince’s heel promo on the fans, these guys were told to go out there and tear the house down, which they accomplished and then some. I cannot do the match justice, so just go watch it, right now! (****)


Prepare yourselves, because here comes an almighty rant about WWE trying to rewrite the history of English football. JBL again talked about Liverpool being the most successful city in English football and spouted erroneous facts about them winning “27” Premier League titles when in fact the city has won ZEROPremier League titles. Both Liverpool and Everton won the now defunct old English First Division championship, but even if you add up both team’s MAJOR honours (60), it still is short of Manchester United and Manchester City’s combined MAJOR honours (61). You could make a case for the city of Liverpool if you added up all the Mickey Mouse trophies that nobody cares about, but by all logical metrics, Manchester is the most successful city in English football. I’m used to WWE distorting the history of pro wrestling, but I simply will not stand for their misleading garbage when it comes to English football.


Natalya vs, Layla w/Summer Rae – Natalya via submission at 3:55. The crowd were dead after that great 3-way and nobody cared at all, including me. It wasn’t terrible, in fact by Diva’s standards it was fine. Nattie slapped Summer and got the win with the sharpshooter.


Dean Ambrose was with Byron Saxton backstage. Bray Wyatt attacked him with a big anvil case then gave him Sister Abigail into the wall, kind of like Johnny Mundo did on Lucha Underground. Wyatt told Ambrose he was going to end up in a box in the ground.


Ryback vs. Kane w/Triple H & Stephanie – Ryback via DQ at 8:06 (TV Time). After the 3-way, this was painful to endure. They plodded and trudged through a dull big-man match. Ryback did a Thesz-press, which may be new, I don’t remember. Kane got the heat; it was like pulling teeth. They ended up on the floor and Kane posted Ryback then hit him with a chair for the DQ.  Kane wore Ryback out some more with the chair, but Ryback came back with a spinebuster then had a stare down with HHH. Ryback grabbed the chair and nailed Kane a bunch of times with it and the show closed with a stare down between him and HHH. – Terrible match, abysmal finish and the stare down with HHH has been done so many times with different guys that it didn’t mean that much here. Why this was the main event? I have no idea. Nothing could follow the 3-way, especially not a lifeless 8 minute Kane match with a DQ finish.


In case you couldn’t tell, I was mentally done after the 3-way. My brain would simply not accept anything else that happened after the greatness that Ziggler, Cesaro & Kidd put on. EVERYBODY should watch that match. It was the best match on SmackDown in years and I imagine it will be a long time until we get something of that calibre again. A good show overall; the main event sucked and nothing else really mattered, but it is impossible to label any television show with a four star match, “bad”.
Bits & Pieces:


Ryan’s Star Ratings:


NJPW Power Struggle 2014/11/08:


Tiger Mask & Fuego vs. BUSHI & Mascara Dorada ** 3/4

Young Bucks vs. Forever Hooligans vs. Taka Michinoku & El Desperado *** 1/4

reDragon vs Time Splitters ****

Yoshitatsu vs. AJ Styles *** 1/4

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hirooki Goto **** 3/4

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Katsuyori Shibata ****




Biff Busick vs Zack Sabre Jr.*** 3/4


Lucha Underground Episode 1:


Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma *** ¼


Next Week’s Issue:


In next week’s issue Ben Carass returns to look at WWE’s go-home programming for their 2014 Survivor Series including, yes, Grumpy Cat hosting Monday Night RAW, plus Bryan Rose brings us the the third part in his look at the 2014 Wrestling Observer Awards.




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Ben Carass’s Twitter: @BenCarass


Bryan Rose’ Twitter: @br26


Ryan Clingman’s Twitter : @RyanClingman

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